Australia mourns loss of Dean Jones

MELBOURNE – Australian cricket on Friday mourned the death of former batsman Dean Jones as the nation remembered one of its favourite sporting sons with glowing tributes in local newspapers.

Jones died from cardiac arrest on Thursday at a hotel in India where he was working as a cricket pundit for Star India. He was 59.

Former Australia bowler Brett Lee appeared on Star India’s pre-game segment “Select Dugout” soon after attempting to revive Jones with CPR after his collapse at their hotel.

“I think the thing we want to say about Deano is he would have wanted us to be here tonight,” said Lee.

“He is an absolute legend. Firstly to his family and friends we send our condolences. It’s a real tough day for everyone, not only for his close mates … and the whole cricketing world in general.”

Cricket Australia Chairman Earl Eddings offered condolences to Jones’s family and said the board would also reach out to support Lee.

“(We have to) look out for Brett Lee, how can we support Brett, who was obviously very traumatized by what happened,” Eddings told Australian broadcaster Channel Nine.

Former New Zealand cricketer Scott Styris, who appeared with Lee on “Select Dugout”, where Jones’s seat on the panel was left vacant, said he had seen Jones jogging up and down the corridor of their hotel in the morning before his death.

“When we got up, had breakfast with Deano, I watched him jog up and down the hallway, that was his way of keeping fit,” said Styris, who broke down on air.

“Who would have thought merely a couple of hours later he had this heart attack.

“Incredibly sad … We’ve had a lot of friendly banter.”

‘Farewell, Deano’

Melbourne newspaper The Age printed a portrait of Jones on its front page with the headline “Farewell, Deano.”

“His passing will leave the cricket world a lesser and greyer place,” The Age’s sportswriter Greg Baum wrote.

The Daily Telegraph devoted its front page to a picture of a grey-haired Jones holding the Ashes urn.

“There was a part of Dean Jones that never aged,” wrote News Corp cricket writer Robert Craddock.

“The cricket junkie with a million theories, a man whose love of the game was as rich the day he died as it was when he first surged onto the Australian cricket scene as a fearless, debonair new talent in the early 1980s.”

Cricket Australia said it would honour Jones’s memory during the home summer of cricket.

A special tribute is likely to be held at the Melbourne Cricket Ground, where hometown hero Jones was feted by huge crowds in the 1980s and 1990s as he racked up big runs in test and one-day cricket.

“We will work through the family and Victoria and Australian cricket and work out the most appropriate way to recognise and celebrate his life because he had such an impact,” said Eddings.

“We will work through that over the next few days. The most important thing now is to worry about his family.”


‘Cape Town museums in a chronic state of neglect and disrepair’

Cape Town – Cape Town’s museums, keepers of the city’s heritage, are in a chronic state of neglect and disrepair due to a lack of funding aggravated by the Covid-19 lockdown, according to the Simon van der Stel Foundation.

The foundation, the oldest conservation lobby group in the Cape, wrote an urgent letter to the Iziko Museums outlining serious concerns on the state of several museums, including the Castle of Good Hope.

The foundation said it was concerned about the continued lack of maintenance of the buildings of Iziko Museums, particularly Rust en Vreugd, Koopmans de Wet House, Bo-Kaap Museum, The Old Town House (Michaelis Collection) and Bertram House.

Foundation chairperson Matthys Pretorius said: “Even before the Covid-19 lockdown, we have noticed that these buildings are in urgent need of maintenance. In previous correspondence, we have already expressed our concern about the indefinite closure of The Old Town House and lack of maintenance at the Castle. We are aware of a leaking roof and rising damp at Koopmans de Wet House.

“The general shoddy appearance of Rust en Vreugd and its garden is also evident. The same situation applies for the Bo-Kaap Museum.”

Pretorius said they were concerned about the general appearance of the buildings, security at these premises and the maintenance of the contents and displays that are housed in them.

In response to Pretorius’s letter, the Iziko Museum said it received a grant from the Department of Arts and Culture and must generate a substantial percentage of the annual budget required to manage 11 museums.

It also admitted that it simply did not have the funding to employ more staff or implement all the maintenance projects needed.

Speaking to the Cape Argus, Pretorius said museums played a crucial role in preserving and safeguarding the history of the country.

“It seems as though they (Iziko) are not interested in these heritage issues because had they been interested, they would have made more money available for maintenance. It’s shocking and they are passing the buck to other departments.”

Iziko chief executive Rooksana Omar said that Iziko Museums, including the Bo-Kaap Museum, required additional financial resources to meet their infrastructure requirements.

“Loss of income from donations, gate revenue, programmes and events are a challenge that faces museums across the globe,” she said.

“The financial impact of Covid-19 and the closure of the museums due to the national lockdown has had a significant impact not only on the heritage, tourism and attraction sectors but to the country and world at large.”

The SA Museums Association said that the country was in a fragile state and budget cuts were having a significant impact on museums.

“There is a lack of funding for the upkeep of buildings. The main problem is that it’s very expensive to maintain because they are old buildings.

“You would need a lot of money to maintain the museums. What we also should remember is that the country’s fiscus is in a terrible position,” said Helen Vollgraans, the president of the association.

Calvin Gilfillan, the chief executive of the Castle of Good Hope, an entity controlled by both Iziko Museums and the Department of Military Veterans and Defence, said that it experienced financial difficulty.

“With the current budget cuts we experienced and tourists subsidising almost 90% of our income, the Department of Military and Defence gave us a subsidy to support us during the lockdown, which assisted,” said Gilfillan.

Cultural Affairs and Sport MEC Anroux Marais’s spokesperson, Stacy McLean, said: “MEC Marais believes any space or entity holding heritage should be safeguarded, protected and preserved for the generations to come as it is important for the memorialisation and acknowledgement of early practice, and communities and their roles and contribution to our democratic society as experienced today.”

Cape Argus

Fresh blood will help Kaizer Chiefs, Orlando Pirates dethrone Mamelodi Sundowns

JOHANNESBURG – Soweto giants Orlando Pirates and Kaizer Chiefs could very well reclaim their glory days in South African football following some crucial additions to their teams recently.

Gavin Hunt’s appointment as Chiefs’ new coach was the much-celebrated acquisition after their disappointing end to the campaign under coach Ernst Middendorp and assistant Shaun Bartlett.

But the club should be pleased with the appointment of Dillon Sheppard and Arthur Zwane as Hunt’s right-hand men. Sheppard and Zwane’s history as former footballers in the domestic league is well-documented.

But it is what they’ve done since hanging up their boots that ensured that they stood head and shoulders above their competitors, such as Kwanele Kopo and Doctor Khumalo, who were also potential candidates.

Sheppard was on course to win the reserve league, the MultiChoice Diski Challenge, with Bidvest Wits last season. But he was deprived of the official coronation after the season was cancelled by Covid-19.

But the 41-year-old coach will be pleased that his graduates – such as Keenan Phillips, Mpho Mathebula, Janovane September and Rowan Human – were integral for the seniors during their days in the bio bubble as they finished fourth.

Sheppard’s job didn’t go unnoticed by Hunt and he was confirmed as the second assistant at Amakhosi alongside Zwane on Monday.

Zwane gets promotion to Hunt’s technical team, having done some excellent work with the club’s reserves in the last few seasons. Players such as Siphosakhe Ntiya-Ntiya, Njabulo Blom, Happy Mashiane, Bruce Bvuma, Siyabonga Ngezana and Nkosingiphile Ngcobo have earned their stripes in the senior team.

Given that the two appointments were decided by Chiefs and Hunt, with Zwane being appointment by the club and Sheppard by Hunt, it helps that the duo are also good friends off the pitch and are classmates as they are doing their Uefa B license with the Irish FA.

Dillon Sheppard will bring in some fresh ideas as Gavin Hunt’s assistant coach at Kaizer Chiefs. Picture: Sydney Mahlangu/BackpagePix

But neighbours Pirates also have something to look forward to ahead of the next term. On Monday they also confirmed the arrival of former Wits defender Thulani Hlatshwayo and winger Deon Hotto.

Hlatshwayo and Hotto bring vast domestic and continental experience to Pirates. They’ve fought many local and continental battles with Hunt at Wits but that they are also paramount for the South African and Namibian national teams respectively, makes them well suited for Pirates.

The Bucs will return to continental football next term, via the CAF Confederation Cup. But they’ll know that in order to rediscover their glory days, they’ll also have to put up a good fight locally against Mamelodi Sundowns who’ve ruled the land for the last three seasons.

And that’s why the introduction of Hlatshwayo, who’ll likely partner captain Happy Jele in the heart of Pirates’ defence and Hotto who’ll be part of the potent attacking unit that has Gabadinho Mhango and Thembinkosi Lorch should enable coach Josef Zinnbauer to take a run at the league title.


Heritage Day: The good and bad news on alcohol sales, partying

Cape Town – South Africans will not be able to celebrate Heritage Day with their usual fervour.

Those who haven’t stocked up on alcohol will have their partying tempered by the fact that there will be no alcohol for sale for off-site consumption on a public holiday (and weekends) under lockdown level 1 regulations. A curfew from midnight to 4am will also put a damper on celebrations.

The good news, however, is that you can consume liquor on-site in pubs, bars, taverns and hospitality venues, Police Minister Bheki Cele said during a media briefing on Tuesday.

Cele warned, though, that the police will be on the lookout for restaurants who sell beer as ’’takeaways’’.

“I want to remind all business owners who insist on flouting the rules, the long arm of the law will catch up with you and you will lose your operating licence,” Cele said.

Cele also reminded the public to remember that while social gatherings such as concerts and live performances are now permitted, nightclubs are still to remain shut.

The number of people that can attend Heritage Day events will be restricted under level 1. Gatherings are allowed as long as the number of people does not exceed 50% of the normal capacity of a venue – up to a maximum of 250 people for indoor gatherings and 500 people for outdoor gatherings.

While President Cyril Ramaphosa has encouraged South Africans to indulge in the Jerusalema dance challenge, people shouldn’t get too carried away. Cele urged South Africans to remain aware of their neighbours and be considerate of noise levels.

“There are many complaints received of noisy and disruptive behaviour at people’s homes. This virus is still very much with us and despite the lifting of restrictions, people need to take responsibility for their own lives and that of their loved ones.”

Cele assured South Africans that even though the country is on the lowest alert level of the national lockdown, “law enforcement will remain on high alert”.

The police minister said that from the start of the lockdown to date, 310 494 people have been arrested and charged with contravention of the country’s lockdown rules under the Disaster Management Act.

These violations include liquor, transport, cross-border and business-related violations, he said. The Western Cape recorded the most arrest with 72 137 charges, followed by Gauteng with 59 000 arrests.


Violence against gay people can’t be blamed on Jon Qwelane’s column – lawyer

Johannesburg – The ball is now in the court of the Constitutional Court to put to rest the more-than-a-decade-old legal battle between former journalist and ambassador Jon Qwelane and civil groups accusing him of hate speech.

Sparked by a 2008 Sunday Sun column headlined “Call me names, but gay is not okay”, the legal stand-off over whether Qwelane committed hate speech against the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) community entered the apex court on Tuesday.

Qwelane was up against the SA Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) and several civil society organisations that wanted him found guilty of hate speech.

The former writer has put up a fight since he was first taken to the Equality Court in 2008, and said he exercised his freedom of speech in the article.

His counsel, Mark Oppenheimer, did not deviate from the freedom of speech argument at the Constitutional Court on Tuesday.

Oppenheimer maintained that at no point did Qwelane call for harm against the gay community in his article.

The column might well have been offensive to many, but it did not incite anyone to harm gay people, Oppenheimer said.

“At no point in time does the article ever call for any harm to be perpetrated against gay people,” he said.

“What Mr Qwelane does is express a concern about gay marriages. Now, you must remember that gay marriage had been made legal in 2006.

“Really, there is a call for legal reform in that basis, but there is no call for any action to be taken against the gay community.

“Qwelane specifically denies that he was calling for any harm to be perpetrated against the gay community. Really what he was expressing is a firmly held moral belief,” the lawyer said.

Justice Steven Majiedt pressed Oppenheimer on whether his client’s column did not add to the atmosphere of hatred against gay and lesbian people.

Many have been killed for their sexual orientation and subjected to “corrective” rape.

Oppenheimer denied that the violence against the gay population could be blamed on Qwelane.

“The evidence shows that a lot of those awful things that the community suffered pre-date the article,” he said.

Tembeka Ngcukaitobi, counsel for the SAHRC, said lower courts hearing the Qwelane case heard evidence of how hurtful statements added to the violence gay people faced in communities.

During a previous hearing, victims described Qwelane’s column as the type of hurtful speech that often led to their abuse, said Ngcukaitobi. Their evidence stood unopposed because Qwelane did not show up to dispute it, he said.

“One could conclude that these utterances (by Qwelane) fuelled the fires. They added to a climate that was already hostile,” Ngcukaitobi said.

“But the other problem is that Qwelane … never gave evidence that what he was trying to do was to ignite a debate, never gave evidence that said actually I regret my actions, nothing.

“He did not come to the trial at all. Initially, he said he was sick. Later on he just didn’t show up, without a reason.

“So, you have evidence by witnesses who are experiencing deep psychological distress as a consequence of his utterances and you have no countervailing evidence from his part.

“The evidence was uncontested, the evidence against Qwelane as to the impact of the article was uncontested.”

Judgment was reserved.

The Star

Special Hacjivah Dayimani has the hands and feet to thrill

CAPE TOWN – Hacjivah Dayimani is a special kind of loose forward. In fact, boxing his abilities into the loosie category only is probably an insult. He’s a special player.

The young Lions man, who turns 23 today, shone in the junior ranks and he’s put in some stunning displays for the Johannesburg franchise at flank and No 8.

He’s no doubt one of the most exciting prospects in the Lions’ den. If you catch the eye of the Blitzboks coaches, it has to say something

Towards the end of last year, Dayimani, who was included in the Springbok Sevens side’s plans for the Cape Town leg of the World Rugby Sevens Series but missed out due to injury, made his first run-out for the SA Sevens Academy as the team won the Dubai International Invitational tournament. That was impressive.

But it’s in the XVs game that the excitement package has made serious waves.

Dayimani is one of the fastest Super Rugby players around, running the 100m in under 11 seconds, and he’s no small frame either, standing at 1.88m and 100kg.

But apart from his physical numbers, it’s what Dayimani can do with those hands and feet that makes him such a thrill to watch.

He has the level of skill that would allow him to slot into the backline seamlessly, and he’d do it so well that you wouldn’t for a second think him out of place.

With domestic competition set to kick off next month, Dayimani will play a key role for the Lions, where he’s proven his worth as a quality addition to their pack in a roving, looking-for-the-next-gap and opportunity role.

But he also knows how to do the more ‘structured’ stuff …

He knows how to poach at the line-outs and he’s more than comfortable snatching turnovers, and when it comes to making those hits, he can surely ace that as well.

Dayimani’s good hands and overall skills and abilities makes it highly unlikely that he won’t make it big in South African rugby, to make it to the highest level.

And after more than six months of rugby drought, what better time to start that climb?


LIVE FEED: State Capture Inquiry – September 23, 2020

Johannesburg – The Zondo commission will on Wednesday morning hear further testimony regarding corruption allegations related to a R1 billion Free State housing project.

Two witnesses who are employed by the Free State department of human settlements will take the stand.

On Tuesday, the inquiry heard evidence from the former head of the department of human settlements in Free State, Mpho Mokoena.

On Monday, the commission heard from a former government official that the project saw the department pay over R600 million to contractors and suppliers for the building of 14 000 houses. The houses were never built and the processes used to appoint contractors and suppliers was marred by irregularities.


Provincial governments are given budgets to spend on building houses for citizens every year. In 2010 the Free State department of human settlements had a budget of R1.3bn, but by October 2010, just four months before the end of the financial year, the department had spent just less than 10% of the budget on housing.

Mokoena explained that the national Human Settlements Department had decided to take away the allocated budget from the province because it was not spent. The money would then be distributed to other provinces that were spending their budgets.

Mokoena testified that facing this threat, Zwane called a “war room” meeting where he introduced a plan which would ensure that the housing budget was spent.

Mokoena recalled that Zwane explained that the department would buy building material from suppliers to ensure that it would be delivered to contractors so their work, to build houses, was not hampered.

Mokoena said he raised questions on the possible illegality of this scheme with Zwane, but the former MEC insisted that this was legal and was being done in other provinces. The October 2010 meeting concluded that a document would be drafted on the project.

Mokoena said when he again raised concerns with Zwane, he was simply told if he would not agree to the implementation of the project, he could resign.

He told the inquiry that in November 2010 he signed the document approving the housing project because he was under pressure to save his job.

“So I realised he was still putting me in the same corner, so I signed it because I had to resign if I did not sign the document,” Mokoena said.

Mokoena said a week after the document was signed, Zwane brought him a list of 106 contractors that the former MEC insisted should be appointed on the project.

The list was filled with unknown individuals who had never done business with the provincial government, Mokoena said.

Following these appointments, within a matter of three months R500m was paid out to suppliers for building material meant for contractors to supply the 14 000 housing units.

Evidence presented at the commission shows that no houses were built and the Free State government later approached the Bloemfontein High Court for an application seeking to recoup the funds paid to suppliers.

Mokoena summarised the motives behind the accelerated spending as Zwane’s strategy of ensuring the housing budget was spent before the national Human Settlements Department could withdraw the funds due to underspending.


Tongaat Hulett’s R5.35bn starch sale gets the green light

DURBAN – The R5.35 billion sale of Tongaat Hulett’s starch business to Barloworld got the green light after an independent third party, Rothschild & Co, found that no material adverse change (MAC) had occurred due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

The two companies had reached a deadlock on the agreement for the sale of its starch business to Barloworld in May following the Covid-19 outbreak in the country in March.

Barloworld had said it was reasonably likely that the earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (Ebitda) of the starch business for the financial year to end March 2021 would be 82.5 percent or less than the Ebitda of the starch business for the financial year to end March 2020 and that an MAC had, therefore, occurred.

Tongaat chief executive Gavin Hudson said yesterday that the group was pleased that the decision by the independent expert had confirmed Tongaat’s belief that a MAC event had not occurred and that the transaction would now go ahead.

“Throughout this process we have continued to work to close out work streams to meet our other obligations under the agreement reached with Barloworld in February this year, so that we can conclude the sale and move forward. It is expected that we will be able to finalise this process by the end of October with the starch business transferring to Barloworld from November 1,” Hudson said.

Hudson backed the asset and said the starch unit was a great business and Barloworld was fortunate to be buying such a valuable asset.

“However, the rationale for the sale remains unchanged – it will help us to continue meeting our debt reduction targets. Tongaat is a high-potential business with a significant asset base, and this decision will ensure that our focus remains on bedding down the turnaround of our organisation,” he said.

Tongaat has been disposing some of its assets in an effort to reduce its huge debt. In June the group also announced the sale of Tambankulu Estates to eSwatini’s Public Service Pensions Fund for R375 million in a share purchase agreement, with the proceeds earmarked to reduce its R13bn debt.

Tongaat’s target is to reduce its debt levels by R8.1bn by March 2021.

Barloworld said it was pleased that the starch business had shown resilience in the face of the economic challenges posed by the Covid-19 pandemic.

“The business is a highly cash generative, relatively asset light and defensive investment with a leading market position and a strong client base of highly regarded and well established multinational companies. These characteristics have underpinned the resilience of the starch business through the current economic challenges, validating Barloworld’s stated strategy of entering into the defensive consumer foods sector and serving industrial customers as a long term strategic pivot of its portfolio,” Barloworld said.

Barloworld also said it believed that the starch business would continue to show positive momentum into the financial year-end after the government moved the country to level 1 of the lockdown on Monday.

Tongaat shares closed 15.24 percent higher at R6.17 on the JSE yesterday, while Barloworld shares closed 4.18 percent lower at R57.57.